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  • RDG Fare Consultation closes: September 10, 2018
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stuving
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« Reply #30 on: August 08, 2018, 09:27:30 am »

The average train journey (a few years back) was 20 miles [[not sure how that was calculated]], compared to 6 miles by bus.

Where did this data come from, I live in an area which is widely regarded as a dormitory town for Bristol and in the morning and evening peaks we have had "express" bus services to Bristol and from 03 September these are being extended to run all day until early evening with longer duration journeys running until a last bus from Bristol at 23.35 daily. Distance about 12 miles. I could also make a similar repeat statement regarding the town of Thornbury. We also have a, reopened in 1989, rail station from which we have been promised a half hourly rail service in the future, hourly now, how far in the future is in the "lap of the gods" knowing how long it takes the rail organisations to do what is normally viewed as a simple task.

First answer: the rail figures come from ORR, the bus ones from DfT. There's obviously a second answer about how they get them, which for the rail figures is: they divide a year's total national passenger-km by the total national passenger journey count.

The one year I happen to have the ORR stats to hand for is 2014-15, and the average journey length works out to 38 km - at 24 miles that's probably what Graham was remembering (or perhaps for another year). ORR give a breakdown by franchise, which makes it obvious why the figure is what it is - most journeys are commuter ones, or daytime ones over the same routes. Thus the three SR franchises, plus Thameslink, c2c, and LO add up to well over half the journeys, and an average length of 24 km. And that's before adding in the cities outside London, which are part of most franchises: note that Scotrail's average is only 33 km. Of course the two long-distance franchises have much larger average lengths (256 and 199 km) though XC serves so many cities its is only 96 km. GW is mixed, and gives 57 km, while its "twin" GA then had so many commuters (now lost to TfL/XR) its was below the average at 32 km.

As to where those ridership figures come from, I don't have ORR's footnotes (but no doubt they suffer from them) but I'm pretty sure it's ticket sales. Train passenger counts are much less complete and reliable, and even when most trains can count their own passenger load it will take a while to woke out what the numbers really mean. I suspect buses are in theory based on ticket sales, though with most tickets not having a specific journey and some passes not registered electronically it won't be so simple. Operators will have ways of filling in the gaps and the national figures probably just represent the best estimates they have flowed up to DfT statisticians.

Of course average fares and cost per mile will also show the same bias (in a value-neutral sense) towards the biggest concentration of users (or whatever is the divisor). It's not "biased" in the sense of dishonest: if that's what you want to know it's the right answer. But it's not the only answer; there are other averages and you may not want one anyway. And for this consultation, one point to consider is that "revenue neutral" only means what the TOCs want it to if the passenger numbers don't change as a result of any pricing changes. Since TOCs (or "the railways" more generally) use pricing to encourage new passengers or journeys and to time-shift existing ones it's not obvious that's going to be the case.

 
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« Reply #31 on: August 09, 2018, 12:07:30 am »

Condemn me if you wish but I did not take part in the consultation because my days of long distance rail travel looks to be a relic of the past, Glasgow is where I fledge my wings to and when I can get one way fares on Easyjet from / to Bristol for as little as 22.66 to and 24.68 from Scotlands second city then regards competing modes of transport there is "no contest".

I have now moved to within 3 miles of Tiverton Parkway. I thought I would visit my sister in Norwich, and on looking up rail fares thought of a crowd funding approach to pay for the rental of the trains, or maybe purchase. Then I found that Flybe will take me there from Exeter for twenty quid each way.

What should I do?  Grin
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« Reply #32 on: August 09, 2018, 07:10:32 am »

If my sister wants me to visit - she pays.   Simple.   (or she pays for the DIY jobs I do when I am there)   Grin
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grahame
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« Reply #33 on: August 13, 2018, 01:02:57 pm »

Last Wednesday ... RDG meeting / briefing in Bristol - for which the polls here had been very useful informing me.  Sorry about their being a few days delay in the writeup - been manic with one thing and another!

Easier Fares!

Really don't know what to say about the meeting.  Perhaps 15 to 20 of us (3 from RDG) starting off with an introduction telling us that the system dates back to 1995 and that changes since then to regulation and rule have left it even tighter than it was, and even more restricted in what can be done under current government rules that was the case in British Rail days.  Problem highlighted of looking for a system which allows for local requirements of a fare system to be met, and yet requires national (long distance) fares. Also problems of bringing a system that was designed for ticket clerks into the electronic age.

The objective of the consultation is to find a widely supported route forward that reflects future needs. Not necessarily looking for a "one size fits all" solution. And indeed a problem identified in defining what "success" might mean as as outcome.  A recognition that there is unlikely to be a "big bang" type change - rather looking for the start of a process / a long term strategy.

Some 8,000 responses have been received to far to the consultation (at Weymouth yesterday I picked up a flyer from the literature rack, so there is a lot of encouragement out there) ... wanting to encourage over 10k.  Especially "if you have ideas, write them in".   RDG's comments are that this is a "genuine consultation looking for ideas and not just window dressing".

I noted that the consultation asks for ideas which maintain the fare basket income, but the RDG's publicity talks of Cheaper Journeys.   Logical conclusion is that changes should be designed to increase passenger numbers, but no real answer when I asked RDG if that was the intent - more a sheepishness that suggests to me two goals that aren't fully mutually compatible.

Outcomes ... a one off meeting, so no direct follow up.   RDG logged / took away meeting's views to feed into their system / unsure of any level of influence therein.

A common factor is the use of technology to calculate the fares dynamically - in London, all you get is a brief flash of your fare.  While you have a simple(r) system, all stations gated or with readers, a customer base that's familiar with the system for the most part, and maximum fares of an hour or two's pay, people will be and large accept it. Move to a network where a fare can be over 100, with some stations are so small as to make smart readers not cost effective (yes, I am aware of the reader at Breich), and where the current system is so complex that no-one understands it, and it fails to offer the cheapest available journey, and you have a trust problem.  Further, errors even if that are small in percent terms might be big in pound terms.

Discussions on Railcards ...

Interesting discussion on removal of Severn Bridge tolls, and on what that will do to road and rail traffic across the Severn, to road congestion in the Bristol area, and to house prices in the Chepstow area.
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grahame
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« Reply #34 on: August 26, 2018, 03:54:57 pm »

From "The Wider Picture" ... a reminder that you nay have a couple of weeks left

Not sure if it's been brought up, but Britain Runs on Rail are looking at changing the UK rail fare structure.

Some interesting ideas, including rail fare caps for season ticket passengers, and bringing it even higher prices for peak services and lowering further off peak services Huh  I found it on the LNER website, Not many TOC's seem to making the public aware of it.

Here's the link for those who want to have a say.

https://www.britainrunsonrail.co.uk/fares.html
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #35 on: August 26, 2018, 06:06:43 pm »

Just spotted this and have completed the RDG survey, including some suggestions in the relevant boxes, though I doubt they were ones they haven't heard before.
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« Reply #36 on: September 06, 2018, 08:54:48 pm »

Can't agree with that, seems a bit "I'm all right Jack" - the railways are massively subsidised by the taxpayer and as we all (mostly) pay tax, it should be a level playing field, it shouldn't favour those "in the know", fares should be transparent and easy for all to understand, be they enthusiasts or occasional travellers.

I've stopped paying tax for the time being.
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« Reply #37 on: September 06, 2018, 09:13:59 pm »

I've stopped paying tax for the time being.

How are you managing to do that? Have you become entirely self sufficient? No mains utilities? Fuel? Clothes? No non zero rated foodstuffs? No booze? No leisure activities? Holidays/Flights? No Council Tax?

Impressive if you've cut out all that. How did you access the Internet to tell us? And what's the secret?  Tongue Wink Grin
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« Reply #38 on: September 07, 2018, 06:36:38 pm »

I am going to put in a reply on Sunday night.  Some of it intentionally provocative.   Thoughts?

Quote
... I also attended your round table discussion in Bristol, and have worked with fare experts at GWR looking at issus around local anolomolies and opportunities. My does not represent a unified view from any of those groups / organisations as there is a no general concensus - however, there are some common thoughts.

------ Common(ish) thoughts -----

1. To come up with a simpler fare system, it's very hard starting from here.

2. The current system is held in some disrepute for its complexity and for the difficult people have in getting the correct and lowest cost fares for their journy. A very big hurdle the rail industry will have with a new fare structure is to gain the trust of the travellig public that they are being offered / sold / chrged the correct amount.  Trust is going to be key

3. It is noted that a requirement of the proposed outcome is that it maintains farebox income at current levels. It is also noted that the RDG's committment is to continue to grow passenger numbers.  The implication of those two criteria together is that fares per journey can decrease in propostion to journey number incrases.  However, there is unlikly to be extra capacity available everywhere it's needed without additional (revenue) expenditure, suggesting that the proportion of each journey cost paid from the farbox will decrease; where the shortfall is made up is not clear

4. Split ticket saving are largely the result of the perversities of the current fare system, and any new and logical system should reduce their utility as a putre money saving gambit. It would be undesirable to remove the facility or change it such as it caused a safety issue (e.g. by requiring people to get off and on the train, or to exit and re-enter the station at the point they change from one ticket to another.  There is no appetite for the removal of split ticketing as a specific objective - that would simply make the train operators look greedy.

5. There is a desire for long distance and return journeys which are only in the peak for a small proportion of the journey to only be charged at peak rates for that portion of the journey.

6. There is a lack of accurate, complete and understandable information about tickets and fares for the travelling public - for example on ticket machines which offer peak and superoffpeak, you'll often find identical descriptions "cannot be used on peak trains on Mondays to Fridays" with a caveat to ask for details which is not always possible.

7. Far too many customers are overcharged in the current system because they buy a less restrictive ticket than they need (e.g. anytime when they could buy off peak) or when they are sold a ticket for their entire journey - even when they ask for the cheapest possible way to travel and that cheapest way is a split ticket.

8. It is understood that a straight "pence per mile" fare across the network would cause serious socio-economic changes, and that changing other metrics would also have significant impacts

9. Routing perversities need to be eliminated, with "any reasoanable route" being the default. "Any Reasonable Route" needs to include the fastest available journey available when you arrive at the station. For example, Melksham to Bristol Parkway is only available via Bath Spa, even though the quickest route for the journey is via Swindon. If you travel from Melksham to Swansea - through Bristol Parkway - that IS a valid route!!

10. Removal of bulk purchase systems such as season tickets (or return tickets) would require significnatly more bandwith in ticket issuing; technology might help, but current technology could not cope.  However, bulk purchase such as season tickets leave a step in the market for those for whom they just fail to do the job.

---------  Suggestions -----------

1. Base fares on a pence price between each station, adding up those fares to make a total journey fare. There is also a case for "quantity discount" on longer journeys.  Add in a fixed fee for station use at the start and end of the journey; that may be based on station facilities including the availability of buses which would be included in the price within the station's catchment.

2. Retain 3 time zones - any time, off peak and super off peak.   Close to uniformly peak for trains leaving stations beween 07:00 and 08:45, and 16:45 to 18:15. Super off peak from 10:15 to 15:15 and from 20:00 to 22:00. Which leave off peak from 22:01 to 06:59, 08:46 to 10:14, 15:16 to 16:44 and 18:16 to 19:59. Note that late night and early morning trains are off peak and not super off peak.  Where a train calls at an intermediate station, the ongoing fare is based on that schedued time of departure.

3. 24 hour return fares at 65% of two singles. Monthly returns at 80% of two singles.

4. Replace current railcards and children's fares with
   Bronze      25%   off off-peak and super-off-peak fares
   Silver      35%   off off-peak and super-off-peak fares
   Gold      35%   off all fares
   Platignum   40%   off all fares
Progrssivley more expensive to buy - but maybe special deals on railcards for specific groups

5. Retain / make universal Groupsave. Ranger, rover, advance tickets options

6. Rail tickets routinely valid for travel by parallel bus.

Edit to correct typos
« Last Edit: September 08, 2018, 04:38:44 pm by grahame » Logged

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« Reply #39 on: September 07, 2018, 07:37:01 pm »

Quote
8. It is understood that a straight "pence per mile" fare across the network would cause serious socio-economic changes, and that changing other metrics would also have significant impacts

Could this be qualified to highlight that the present system has created some major discrepancies in the pence per mile fares particularly between 'commuter' and 'long distance' stations and that at the very least a new system should not allow such discrepancies to worsen, but have a log term objective to reduce them.

I refer to the very high pence per mile rates for long distance anytime fares such as Paddington to Swindon or Bristol (which have not been regulated) compared to say Paddington to Reading or Oxford (which have been regulated).  These become very apparent when you look at the difference between the anytime fare and the season ticket as the season tickets have been regulated. 
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grahame
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« Reply #40 on: September 08, 2018, 06:15:14 am »

Quote
8. It is understood that a straight "pence per mile" fare across the network would cause serious socio-economic changes, and that changing other metrics would also have significant impacts

Could this be qualified to highlight that the present system has created some major discrepancies in the pence per mile fares particularly between 'commuter' and 'long distance' stations and that at the very least a new system should not allow such discrepancies to worsen, but have a log term objective to reduce them.

I refer to the very high pence per mile rates for long distance anytime fares such as Paddington to Swindon or Bristol (which have not been regulated) compared to say Paddington to Reading or Oxford (which have been regulated).  These become very apparent when you look at the difference between the anytime fare and the season ticket as the season tickets have been regulated. 

The way the suggestions I make further down would work would remove these anomalies - period. Major waves in the system and perhaps the economic situation of commuters, with a lot depending on the pricing of each mileage leg.   There is a case for pointing out those current issues by example - whether in point 8, or by adding a point 11.

I, sadly, am far from convinced that thoughtful inputs to this consultation will have any noticeable effect; that's not an unusual view for many to have of most consultations, but in this case my cynicism is right up at the top of the scale if asked "is my text input going to be of any use".

1. RDG have told us they are looking for massive response and they are quoting numbers. They have lots of tick boxes that can be counted then only a few write-ins which will make it very hard for them to meaningfully analyse the write-ins.   They will be open to cherry pick from them, however

2. The consultation defines a narrow bottom line outcome of what's required and does that simplistically to the extent of it being inconsistent within itself - point 3.

3. The RDG is not an uninterested party conducting a consultation. They are the ones with members who's company members / shareholders will loose or gain from any results that are implemented, and must be seen not to be tempted to recommend solutions which allow the maximisation of income / profit within optional ticket products outside or in addition to any new system

4. It is a nationwide consultation - so inputs from the South West / GWR area will be but a small proportion of inputs so will be diluted within the whole response.

5. The tick box questions which require a yes/no answer are really not that simple and are woolly.  Yes, a wide range of things should be considered, but that is very different to a scheme being implemented which uses elements of that measure.

6. The respondent profile is going to be self-selecting interested people; I wonder what measure there is to normalise the result to an average profile.

Having expressed my concerns, I will be going ahead and submitting a response.    Stating my personal background of learning and - I hope - adding a flag that they are thought through rather more deeply than most. But not claiming to be representing the full view of any organisation.   And it is worth submitting to at least indicate an appreciation that at least some views have been sought, and that I want to contribute.   It has also been very helpful to me personally to be thinking about these things as the wider picture moves forward.

I would encourage members to submit their own responses ... and members (and guests) are very welcome to use / repeat any (or even all) of my thoughts in their inputs.   I am flattered by the suggestion made to change and I will think on that carefully - but this one is about numbers and I am just one and hold no authority - I'm just a passenger who sees some issues in the current system and asks "why", "could it be better", "could it be fairer".  I suspect many respondents will be coming from "will that make it cost more or less for my travel" ... and RDG are looking to say "how can we increase profit" and we have, sadly, an unholy mix ...
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« Reply #41 on: September 08, 2018, 03:05:28 pm »

The way the suggestions I make further down would work would remove these anomalies - period.

Agreed

Major waves in the system and perhaps the economic situation of commuters, with a lot depending on the pricing of each mileage leg. 

Accepted that is why I was suggesting at least not making things worse. 

There is a case for pointing out those current issues by example - whether in point 8, or by adding a point 11.

I did in my response.
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ellendune
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« Reply #42 on: September 08, 2018, 03:12:01 pm »

Another thought:

Quote
5. There is a desire for long distance and return journeys which are only in the peak for a small proportion of the journey to only be charged at peak rates for that portion of the journey.

This is going further than I had thought and I support it. However it fails to point out the need for a lesser step.  FGW (as it was then) changed their fare structure so that Single Tickets were about half the return fare.  In doing so they proved it could be done while remaining revenue neutral (I assume or they would not have done it). This should be rolled out across the network so that we do not have the ridiculous situation of a return being only just more than a single. 
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grahame
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« Reply #43 on: September 08, 2018, 04:37:35 pm »

Another thought:

Quote
5. There is a desire for long distance and return journeys which are only in the peak for a small proportion of the journey to only be charged at peak rates for that portion of the journey.

This is going further than I had thought and I support it. However it fails to point out the need for a lesser step.  FGW (as it was then) changed their fare structure so that Single Tickets were about half the return fare.  In doing so they proved it could be done while remaining revenue neutral (I assume or they would not have done it). This should be rolled out across the network so that we do not have the ridiculous situation of a return being only just more than a single. 


As in

Quote
3. 24 hour return fares at 65% of two singles. Monthly returns at 80% of two singles.
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« Reply #44 on: September 08, 2018, 05:57:40 pm »

Sorry missed that.
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